The Warren Centre Low Energy High Rise project proves that mandatory disclosure of energy and water performance for property works, says Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett

By Tina Perinotto

Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett,  last week backed mandatory disclosure as a key tool in greening the property industry at a function to award Stockland a 6 star Green Star rating for the refurbishment of its headquarters in Sydney.
The award, presented this morning at Stockland’s Castlereagh Headquarters, also marked the 100th Green Star certification by the Green Building Council of Australia.
Among the attendees were GBCA and Global GBC Chair, Tony Arnel, GBCA chief executive, Romilly Madew, Stockland managing director, Matthew Quinn and Stockland chairman, Graham Bradley, and former NSW premier Nick Greiner,
Mr Garrett said new research by the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, the  Low Energy High Rise project, proved that that public reporting of energy and water performance ratings positively correlates with improved performance. (See our profile on this project in “Save energy…without the big investment” in News From the Front)
He also quoted the study’s findings that there was “potential for most buildings to achieve a 4-star NABERS Energy base building rating with only limited recourse to major technical refurbishment, which corresponds to a performance improvement of approximately 30 per cent for an average building.
“Extrapolated across the CBD office building sector, this would be equivalent to a 1.2 per cent reduction in Australia’s total emissions”
Mr Garrett said that this was a significant finding, and that it was reinforced by the other benefits of commercial building energy efficiency like increased productivity, morale and health of the workforce.”
(In our featured articles, Mandatory Disclosure, it’s crazy-making, the industry reveals some of its concerns with the proposal.)
Mr Garrett said the tough economic times provided an opportunity to make investments that “both support jobs now and help build the low-pollution industries of the future.”
The commercial building sector was responsible for at least 10 per cent of our carbon pollution – possibly more, he said.

“Stockhome”, Stockland’s headquarters is the 100th Green Star project to be certified by the GBCA since 2002. Pictured with the award: Stockland’s  Managing Director, Matthew Quinn, chairman Graham Bradley, with Green Building Council chair, Tony Arnel.

“This is a significant contribution and it also represents a significant opportunity for actions that benefit jobs now and benefit the environment for years to come.”
The mandatory disclosure scheme currently being developed with state and territory governments would be first introduced in large commercial office buildings such as Stockland’s headquarters.
“At present, the average energy rating under the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS), formerly ABGR, for commercial buildings is 2.5 stars on a 5 star system.
“A national mandatory disclosure scheme will increase the demand for energy efficient commercial buildings, raising the average NABERS energy rating, stimulating green jobs and bringing savings to businesses.
“We recognise that the two commercial building rating systems in Australia, Green Star and NABERS, both have important roles to play in transforming the market for green buildings.